Released in France in 1977, “Rocky” is the founding piece of the legend of Sylvester Stallone. A very personal film for the young actor at the time, who wrote the screenplay and sees himself alone in the shoes of the boxer. But the producers would prefer a star to take the role and, for that, they have prestigious names in mind.
Stallone and rocky, same fight
Sylvester Stallone’s filmography contains a handful of feature films that do much more than stand the test of time: they age beautifully. For the actor and filmmaker, soon to be back on the big screen in Expandable 4 and in Samaritan, the legend was born in 1976 with rocky, perhaps his greatest film. A commercial and critical success, for which Sylvester Stallone received two Oscar nominations in 1977: Best Actor and Best Screenplay. Before him, only Charlie Chaplin and Orson Welles had this honor. But before getting there, Sylvester Stallone had to fight tirelessly, and could well have do not play the character of Rocky Balboa
Producers want a star
In 1975, his script finished, Sylvester Stallone sold the rights to the very influential Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff. Seduced by this story and finding great potential in it, they offer Sylvester Stallone $350,000 but he won’t get the role. They had indeed the fear that the film would not work as well as if it aligned a big star at the head of the bill. Corn rocky being an eminently personal creation of Stallone, out of the question for the latter not to embody the boxer from Philadelphia. Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff have big names in mind: James Caan, Ryan O’Neal, but above all Robert Redford and Burt Reynolds.
Robert Redford and Burt Reynolds are then hollywood movie stars and enjoy great popularity. Between 1974 and 1976 Redford is in Gatsby the magnificent, The Three Days of the Condor and The President’s Men. For his part Burt Reynolds marked the spirits in Issuance in 1972 and would soon become a superstar. The prolific Ryan O’Neal released three films with Peter Bogdanovich and above all distinguished himself in 1975 in Barry Lindon. As for James Caan, after the second opus The Godfather released in 1974, it is in roller ball and elite killer by Sam Peckinpah in 1975.
“Sly” to the mind
Sylvester Stallone is not giving up, it will be him or no one. Despite a precarious financial situation at the time, the actor refuses the offer but agrees to lower his remuneration to a minimum, and accepts very significant budget cuts as long as he can embody Rocky himself. The producers accept, and we know the rest.
The legend rocky is underway, and the determination of its author has finally sublimated these production constraints. The meeting at the ice rink with Adrian, for example, had to take place during a normal access hour, with the public. But the producers couldn’t afford to hire enough extras, so the script was changed for the meeting to take place while the rink is closed.